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From Light Rose the Angels - From Light Rose the Angels

From Light Rose the Angels - CD Review
From Light Rose the Angels


From Light Rose the Angels 



CD Info
Self Released
7 tracks
English lyrics


VK Lynne has been representing American Femme Metal for a while now. She’s been a part of several contemporary bands, does Eve’s Apples at MFVF and been a part of Dame Nation in Chicago which is where I first heard her live. She’s hard to miss with the wild colored hair and the glitter. But, she’s a pro, and a standard carrier for American Femme Metal. And we need all the help we can get, unless you’re a big Lady Gaga fan, of course. Interestingly enough, when I first listened to this EP my first thought was this sure sounded European to me. I was hearing some Embassy of Silence, even the vocals were somewhat in line with that band’s vocalist, who, by the way, shares in the interesting hair colors. And, since I am particularly fond of EoS this was certainly a good thing as far as I was concerned. But, EoS is Finland, and the Finns do a particularly solid brand of Femme Metal, you’ve heard of Nightwish, right? So, even though VK is from LA and they have lots of solid musicians to choose from, I was a little confused about where this sound could have originated from. So, I did what they teach you to do in Journalism school, I asked. VK responded, “The band was formed when Janne Tamminen, a Finnish composer living in Los Angeles, contacted me about vocals for some songs he was working on. I listened to what he had, and started writing immediately. We definitely had the same musical sensibility for this sound. We both wanted to create a symphonic project, but incorporate more of a rock sound, rather than traditional symphonic metal. We started getting musicians together, and Janne brought on Arno Nurmisto, another Finn, to play bass. In a town like LA, you can often find expats from any country lumped together; we are often criticized for our lack of ‘community’ (LA is just so large) but people will find their community in it. So I grew less and less surprised when Janne introduced me to yet another Finn who joins our merry group. Tero Potila (Finn #3) produced the EP.” Yea, I know, I just have a feel for this stuff.

Well, beyond the Finns there are some other interesting musicians here, and they have ties to some well known sounds, no amateurs here. But, they European thing is largely a product of the symphonic components that are quite often not found in American Femme Metal. VK addressed this component as well, “ The symphonics! Janne and I both love that aspect of Nightwish, Within Temptation, Delain, etc.- the symphonics add a depth and a scope that we definitely wanted to incorporate into our music. We really went in with a ‘let's try it’ attitude. We wanted to make music that we liked, that felt good to us, and that people would enjoy hearing.” And that leads to a sound that is very much in line with the prevailing sounds we hear from much of continental Europe. Much of that sound is developed and produced by band founder Janne Tamminen who serves as composer and programmer in addition to guitar duties. VK talked further about his influence, “Janne does programming for all the sylph parts. He comes from an industrial metal background. We mixed his industrial/symphonic sensibility with my blues/rock and decided we were going to just toss conventions out the window and make music that we thought sounded good. Whether it was "genre-correct" or not!” There are additional influences. The release includes male vocals, both clean and harsh. I have to believe those are contributed by lead guitarist Andrew Faust who is a long time musician on the LA scene. That combination of vocal styles is, again, a reflection of the European influence.

Although the music may exhibit a European influence, there is less of that influence in the lyrics which, contrary to the prevailing Gothic themes we tend to get in Europe, are more personal in nature here. Again, one could argue that this is more of an American approach to the music and I asked VK about that. Her response, “Lyrically, I believe that truth, pain and hope always have something to say, and I was personally knee-deep in all 3 when I wrote these lyrics.” You get that influence with tracks like The Gray Returns.

It gets so hard to breathe inside my reverie / Heaven and hell I can’t divide
It gets so hard to see when ashes fall on me / This smoking gun I hold inside

The grey returns / And feeds the flame upon the burns
I swore I’d crushed the embers / But the spark it never dies, it lies.
And the grey returns.

Another thing that caught my attention was the variety you tend to see in VK’s vocals on different tracks. Many singers in this genre tend to utilize varieties of vocal styles, but they often range strictly from a metal vocal to a classical style, assuming they can do it. VK goes at it from a different direction. You get the harder vocal one moment, but a seemingly completely different style on the next track. Sometimes it sounds like a different singer. Again, she commented on my thoughts here: “ I don't feel that I intentionally adapted my voice to the style, more that I 'sing for the song'. Whether I've sung blues, rock, prog, or metal, I've never gone into the booth with a genre in my mind; I've gone in with the words, the feeling, the emotion of the song, and let my voice reflect that.” This is especially evident when she goes from harder tracks like Proud2B with its pounding guitar parts over soaring symphonies to the softer sounds like BloodRoses which may be one of the more American sounding tracks on the release. Even the lyrics here present a more American feel, a more intense personal reflective, almost a Blues approach to the story:

Warm and whole and / Safe form me, what I can be.
Sharp as the pain that / Holds you down, holds you now.

Blood Roses / Dead end desire, lust is a liar.
Blood roses / Trademark of passion, we never imagine / The thorns.

This is one of those releases where you quickly chose which track you like the best. There’s such a range of presentation that personal preference will drive your choice rather quickly. For me that track was Selfish. This is one of the rockers, and one of the more musically intense tracks. You get a fine symphonic that hauntingly drives the background sounds while VK delivers a strong, more complex vocal line. There’s some programming here that takes us beyond the keyboards and seems to drive the vocals. VK doesn’t often showcase range but she shows a little here. I wish there was more of it. There’s also some mixing of the female vocal with the harsh male vocal, one of the components that sold this one to me. Interestingly, there’s another track that offers a similar approach; HoldingStones. This is one of those that sure sounded EoS to me, again, NOT a bad thing by any means.

Well, one of the best things about this release is that Yours Truly might actually get to hear some of it LIVE in the not too distant future. Of course, that assumes I can pull myself away from the lively polka alternatives that dominate the local musical culture, a tough assignment to be sure. But, VK and the boys will be touring locally with one of the stronger Femme Metal sounds here in the Cheese and Beer State: White Empress from Madison. So, look for a write up of that visit sometime this Fall. Until then, this is definitely a sound worth considering for purchase.  'Murican Femme Metal' never sounded better.